London 2012. Well, at least it doesn't have Big Ben on it
London 2012's "multimedia brand image" was unveiled today by Lord Coe, chairman of London's Olympic committee. Designed by Wolff Olins the logo is, apparently, based on the four *ahem* brand pillars of access, participation, stimulation and inspiration. So-far-so-predicatable: but who would have guessed it would quite turn out... like this?
In an accompanying and characteristically hyperbolic press statement, Lord Coe claimed that "London 2012 is inspired by you and it's for all of you." What he really means is that 2012 is aiming to become the Games of inclusivity – or "Everyone's Games" as the brand vision has it – initially by having both emblems for the Olympic and Paralympic Games constructed from the same core shape.
Indeed, this shape (well, four shapes really) is so designed that it will work on a range of different media. It's likely that in a further five year's time, people will be accessing Olympic content on an even greater number of devices – thus, a shape, rather than a word marque, seems appropriate for a certain amount of transferability; at least on-screen.
But, aesthetically? Due to the recent exhibition and book, Otl Aicher's scheme for the Munich 72 games is very much in the minds of today's design community. It has become the benchmark for the heights that Olympic graphic design can achieve. And this seems to make the logo for London 2012 appear all the more shocking.
"They can expect quite a polarised reaction because it's quite radical," says Ciarán Coyle, MD of brand licensing company The Beanstalk Group, "and from a creative point of view, it will develop the debate. The design is very simple and that's what's different to the previous Olympic logos, where the city's name and year are next to each other. Here, the focus is on the notion of '2012'. What's interesting from a licensing perspective is that they can take this logo and put it on lots of different media. It needs to be downloadable, be visible on a phone, a website and so on."
William Higham, futurologist and founder of Next Big Thing, suggests that a key issue for Wolff Olins was making the logo appeal to a wide range of different audiences. "It was important to make it flexible and appealing to audiences across the board," he says. "The multi-cultural youth demographic was very important. They need something that they can adapt themselves and so user-generated content is coming in there. People are into the idea of having something that works on that level, something that suggests a 'participatory Games'. When the event is broadcast there will more people there filming it on their phones, blogging about it. I don’t think it'll date because it's not tied to a particular font, or style – we still have to see it in context and get used to it. I think it will still have a vibrancy; it's very bold."
Bold is certainly one word for it. But we've encountered a few others during our our heated discussion here in the CR office and from emails coming in. One noted London designer contacted us to ask "Have you seen the 2012 logo? Fuck." So here are some initial thoughts:
It's original and brave.
It contains none of the following: Big Ben, bulldogs, crowns and assorted other royal paraphernalia, the Union Jack, cross of St George, Pearly Kings and Queens, abstract figures doing vaguely athletic things.
It will work across a range of media, which will be vital in 2012 when coverage of the Games will break over a range of formats – eg mobile phones, PCs.
Children will probably like it and, like Whitney, we believe that they are the future...
Anything that annoys the Evening Standard this much can't be all bad
You can't read it very easily.
It already seems outdated – New Rave may be very On Trend with the fashion world this season but this still has five years of life to live out.
It's inelegant and brash (unlike the restrained beauty of, say, Aicher's work for Munich in 1972) - and what does that say about London?
It looks a bit like something Neil Buchanan might have put together on Art Attack. And, as a result, graphic design will receive another pasting in the popular press. "How much? My kid could have done better..."
If you stare at it long enough, some dirty-minded bloggers have been saying, it kind of looks like Lisa Simpson giving someone a blow job
Let us know what you think.
“How much? My kid could have done better...”
Seems like they're already at it!
BBC News | Your alternative Olympic logos
Since somebody mentioned it on the Guardian blog, I can't get the image of a woman with big hair and 5 earrings on her knees giving head out of my mind.
I especially dislike the borders around the pink abstractions. The shadow, yes. But not the border.
“London 2012 is inspired by you and it’s for all of you.”
Cheers for the opportunity to see world-class atletics, Seb, but I'm not taking the heat for this! What on Earth inspired it? I can't quite get the memories of my first days on my Art & Design foundation course out of my head, all those afternoons sticking randomly cut pieces of coloured paper in my journal with glue and I never made anything this grotesque.
It's about time an Olympic logo had some balls. And so what if it gets horrendous press? as Han Meilin (the designer, paid the equivalent of 7 pence to create the Beijing 2008 identity) would say “...a little misfortune is not a bad thing.”
This is the stuff of future design book case-studys. In 36 years time we'll be looking fondly back on ‘Wolff Olins' scream for the London 12 games’ wondering why the new World 48 logo couldn't be a bit more traditional, and include a subtle blow-job.
"When people see the new brand, we want them to be inspired to make a positive change in their life". Tony Blair.
I'm sure the people behind it have put in a lot of hours and no doubt loads of lolly has been thrown at it and all the good people will have their reasons - I can think of many suitable adjectives to describe it - 'expressionless' (as in totally) is one of them.
the logo reminds me of 'saved by the bell'
Perhaps WO are actually being very clever: if they'd designed just another Olympics logo perhaps we wouldn't be talking about it the day after it's launched. It's dead ugly now, but perhaps they plan to turn it into something that doesn't look like a stocky man doing "I'm a little teapot". Perhaps they'll turn it into something beautiful and we'll all be eating our words.
That's lots of "perhapses".
My first reaction was that perhaps WO together with various ministers and the COI had embraced the mandate of inclusivity by getting some 14 year old Hackney kid to design the logo. After all, various non-designer friends have commented on how it looks like a tag they may of sprayed under a bridge when they were that age, (what an appropriate way to represent London & the UK).
There's been no shortage of people putting the boot in over the last 24hrs but I've yet to hear WO's post-justification. I hope, when they finally emerge from the furore, that they are able to succinctly justify the mark to the wider population and help to reduce the ear-bashing I'm gonna get for my profession.
I'll reserve judgment until I've seen more applications and lived with it for a bit... you never know... I might just be sporting a logo-emblazoned shell suit by 2012.
Every man and his cabbie is having a moan about it, at least it shows London is not indifferent to the games! I find it difficult to get 3 clients in a room on my side so there is no way you can design a logo that will appease 7 million Londoners.
The logo should be judged on its ability to be different to what is 'expected' of an Olympic logo. It won't be static in shape (probably) and colour (as seen in the Lloyds TSB co-brand, p6 in the Metro this morning).
Like Oscar Wilde said, "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about".
Do you come here often?
Oh....leave it alone everybody.
Essex night clubs rock.... Can't wait for the neon version!
Hmmm great palette, type and styling?
I like it.
It's got everything I like about challenging design about it.
1) Most design heads hate it.
2) Really odd choice of colours.
3) Provokes healthy debate.
4) Not 3d, Web 2.0, drop shadow, or any of that other photoshop bollocks.
Good work fellas!
The logo is nowhere near as bad as people are making out. In fact, I think it’s quite fun. (Their biggest mistake was probably to launch it with such an overblown fanfare – but you can’t blame the designers for that.)
What’s more interesting is how public perceptions of the industry clearly haven’t changed much over the years. People still have this image of designers driving around in Ferraris, cashing six-figure cheques for a few quick scribbles. A lot of people basically resent the fact that designers get paid to do anything at all.
Whatever the arguments about the logo, I’d like to see a few more designers coming out in defence of the profession. If the logo is dropped and put out to open competition as many are urging, it’ll confirm that design really isn’t worth paying for and much better left in the hands of school kids. If it’s retained and goes on to be a success (which, given a chance, I think it might), it’ll confirm that the experts might actually know what they’re doing after all. I know which outcome I’d prefer.
This project possibly represented one of the greatest graphic design briefs in living memory. This was a fantastic opportunity not only to brand the London Olympics but also to reinforce the UK's reputation for design excellence to the largest worldwide audience.
What baffles me most is how this concept survived the designer's self-editing process. I was hoping to be feeling as quietly proud as the day we won the Olympics - not as depressed as the day after!
Isn't Tagging vandalism in the eyes of the government?
There's a rare and very refreshing defence of the Olympic logo here. It probably says something that it had to come from America.
The logo certainly isn't without its controversy.
London 2012 Logo: Never Mind The Bollocks
A society gets the advertising (and for that matter the press and politicians) it deserves. The logo is brash, unsubtle and vulgar - need one say more?
For me the universal condemnation of this logo by the general public only serves to act as a seal of its quality. Lets be brutally honest, most people have no taste or visual sophistication. I would never want to design something which was met by universal love by the public as it would show that the work had not taken enough risks.
I think its a genius approach.
Wolf Ollins and the 2012 committee have turned the business of branding on its head and have established a brand new methodology for inclusive identity development.
We've all missed the boat here - they've fooled the entire world and led them down a truly dynamic and interactive approach to identity design and the business of branding.
..let me explain.
Wolf Ollins Have released this design into the blogosphere , perfect in the knowledge that it will be immediately despised by 90% of the great unwashed. In response to this the great community of bloggers, designers, art students, school kids and artists will re-design there own versions. Pages will spring up on MySpace, Second Life, Face Book etc. showing more inspired and relevant designs.The BBC will feature these designs on their website, TV and Radio channels. The great British Public will decide.
A new logo will be chosen based on an audience of millions - the new logo will have been designed with passion by a street kid with an Etch-A-Sketch, a love of London and sport; and will be championed as the true identity of the Olympics. Simon Cowell and Wally Olins will give the winner a big hug on Saturday night TV. "Brand X Factor".
Identity design by user-generated content - its new media, it's "Yoof", it's cutting edge, it's inclusive, it's contemporary, it's genius and above all it's sustainable ( well isn't everything these days ?).
Polarise the nation, encourage rioting in the streets over a logo (the greatest mass gathering of an iconic graphic design since Nuremberg) and then let them build something better. Democracy in action. The Romans would have been proud.
Its why they get paid £400k for their thinking and brand strategy - Wolff Ollins and the 2012 committee are way ahead of the curve here - we're just mere hamsters on their wheel of creativity.
Its a brave new world and we've all just been had....
I cant help it - but this is what I saw when I saw the logo.
(may not be suitable for work/prudes/those with a sense of humour bypass)
Freud would have a field day with me no doubt.
Was thinking of doing T-shirts! haha
From Andrew Robinson, Mind Corporation:
This is the most damaging piece of graphic design I have seen in the last 15 years. In an arena where the world is waiting with bated breath, we produce a logo which is as appropriate as the British Airways tailfins (paint your own) and the spelling of London with a small ‘l’.
I know it is supposed to be 'street', but it looks about as ‘in touch with the kids’ as two dads dancing at a wedding to ‘Rio’ by Duran Duran. (Incidentally, this logo looks like the dancing dads, but made out of good old ‘Fuzzy Felt’.)
I do mentorship programmes for foreign students who think that London is the cutting edge for design. This logo is an idea which has been so poorly executed and neutered, that it looks like something that came straight off the drawing board. It’s symptomatic of the fact we are such a multi-cultural, multi-religious society that we can’t produce anything with a strong point of reference.
The initial brief for the London 2012 bid was never one I liked, but at least in this climate of trying to engender Britishness in our citizens, it achieved something that politicians have been desperate to promote since before 9/11. The river was a strong idea, but from that to what we’ve got now is a huge mistake. I never thought that anybody could create a logo that made the pitch logo look good.
This says nothing about London or sport – and the typography is horrific.
The first and most important part of any identity is internal ownership. That’s how Wally Olins tells people they can sell it externally. Well the news at the moment is that the internal owners, the British public, aren’t buying! It’s characterless and faceless, and if the country has paid millions to bid for the Games and billions more to stage it, you’d think someone could come up with the marque that we could all get behind.
How did they get away with it? And who authorised it? With a job like this we’d have put forward an enormous presentation with huge documentation from initial sketches onwards. We would have created a lot of ideas, which would have been narrowed by quite large teams on both the creative and the client sides. We would also have been aware of our moral responsibility to create something that was somehow ‘proud to be British’.
Sometimes a client can be very strong willed, but for £400,000, a company like Wolff Olins should be able to lead them by the hand for a project that they have never tackled before.
One last thing; having seen it as a still image, I went to the 2012 website thinking that moving image would throw up more flexibility in the identity. Instead, I just saw the most woeful promotional video I’ve seen in my life. It looked like a 70s public information film. I’m sure our fellow creatives in the post-production industry are also turning in their collective graves.
This weird logo means:
>> Z O
>> "ZION=the whole world in 2012"
punk, blow job and "saved by the bell" - you should be happy. oure euro 08 logo is far away from beeing that inspiring.
Check this link to see what we think of the London 2012 Logo
This has to be the funniest take on the logo yet - http://capitalspunk.com/
Haha. I can see where the bit about Lisa Simpson is coming from. Great blog entry. I can see where the agency is coming from. I think everyone will come to love this logo in 4 or 5 years time. It's so out of the box and energetic. Are we forgetting that it's a great base for anything and everything involved in the build-up to the games to be branded on and within it similar to the lloyds version of the logo?
I HATE IT!!! £400K on that piece of junk? My dog can do better than that! ABSOLUTE RUBBISH!!!
I think its absolutely great. It's a logo of the future!
Check this http://soaringbirds.blogspot.com/ as to why i am making this statement!
I CAN'T BELEIVE THEY SPENT 30,0000 ON THIS SHITTY LOGO!!! IT LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE A GUY FUCKING SOMEONE FROM BEHIND!!!!!
....The dude on the left of the logo is doing it from hehind....
everyone could have done way better
this olympic logo sucks i'm having a debate at school about just how crap this thing really is. I could do better with my eyes closed and so could all my other mates!
Worst Logo Ever. The logo designer's IQ must be in negative digits. Comment deleted by moderator
It´s art! We look to the logo and think"what they mean with that?! Make every think, something that is not comom in these day´s.
this logo is pure genius!!
it gets people to talk about is it... and that is what great design is all about 'communication'. They could have designed a cheesy logo but would that have any impact on the world as much as this has... simply the answer is NO!!!
wolff ollins i love you!!!
Can't really make out ... Is it ZOIZ or ZORZ?
Update info' post, Jan 2012. Litigation proceeding by London artist against Wolff Olins for copyright infringement with its 2012 Olympic Logo. Updates at http://www.OlympicLogoDispute.blog.co.uk - Or search Olympic Logo Dispute. Thanks.
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